The residents of John Taolo Gaetsewe district in Northern Cape used the public hearings on Gas Amendment Bill to express their concerns about the conduct of mining companies operating in the district, as well as service delivery challenges.

The public hearing was held at the Kathu Town Hall on Tuesday. Residents grabbed the opportunity to address members of the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy on other matters, unrelated to the Bill.

Ms Gift Khumalo who is a street vendor appealed with the committee to ensure that vendors are allocated operating permits, as this will prevent conflicts amongst traders. Mr Boitshoko Montsho, meanwhile, complained about lack of support from the Gamagara Local Municipality for his registered soccer and music academies.

Mr Montsho also complained about the social ills faced by communities, including lack of job opportunities and substance abuse. “Our district consists of 34 mines. However, their headquarters are based in Gauteng, which takes away job opportunities for our communities,” he said.

The Chairperson of the committee, Mr Sahlulele Luzipo, explained that although they would have loved residents to comment on the Bill only, the committee was obliged to listen to all inputs.

Meanwhile, some residents welcomed the Bill and objected to the Minister’s power to expropriate land. They also called for gas manufacturing companies to be compelled to conduct mandatory environmental impact assessment studies.

On Wednesday, the committee will conduct public hearing in Galeshewe Recreational Hall in Kimberley.

Justice Molafo
26 January 2022